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Spread of MERS in Saudi Arabia puts camel owners on defense

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 01:41

May 20 - Saudi camel owners deny possible link between livestock and spread of MERS. Nathan Frandino reports.

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On the horizon of Saudi Arabia's Riyadh Desert, camel owners are standing by their animals. The animals have come under attack for a possible link to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, or MERS. These camel owners are condemning that link, and showing the utmost confidence in their animals. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) CAMEL OWNER, SALMAN AL-RASHEDI, SAYING: "We have not heard of anyone who has been hospitalized. Even the hospitals haven't declared any case of the virus among camel owners. This is conclusive evidence and indisputable. If there were even just one case, we could then say that the virus is related to camels, but there isn't. It is unreasonable to link the virus with camels." MERS is a SARS-like viral disease that has infected more than 500 patients in the country since 2012. It kills about 30 percent of the people it infects. The Saudi Health Ministry has launched a widespread campaign to educate its citizens how to identify and prevent the spread of the disease. A French official in Saudi Arabia said the government can control the outbreak. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FRENCH STATE MINISTER FOR PARLIAMENTARY RELATIONS, JEAN -MARIE LE GUEN, SAYING: "As we know the epidemic issue is under control for us, and we have total confidence in the Ministry of Health of Saudi Arabia to face this issue." There is currently no cure or vaccine for MERS, which causes cough, fever and shortness of breath.

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Spread of MERS in Saudi Arabia puts camel owners on defense

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 01:41